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Google Uses Toyota iQ For Street View On Narrow Belgian Roads

On: Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 1:20PM | By: Chris Weiss


Google Uses Toyota iQ For Street View On Narrow Belgian Roads test 2

It's been a good couple of days for mini cars. Around the same time the Mini was setting world records, the Toyota iQ was doing work for one of the pillars of the tech industry. Google turned to the iQ in taking footage for its StreetView service, when its usual fleet cars couldn't quite get into the small nooks and crannies of Belgian roadways.

For about five years, Google has been using a fleet of all types of vehicles - cars, bikes, boats, snowmobiles, etc. - to bring us on-demand panoramic photo access to streets around the world, mountains, rivers, ski resorts, and other attractions and destinations. According to the company, it started rolling its street footage in an SUV, later moved to a van and then refined its operation to a fleet of specially equipped cars.


Fisker Expands Its Fire Recall

On: Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 11:15AM | By: Chris Weiss


Fisker Expands Its Fire Recall test 2

Well, that wasn't destined to last very long. After a rare spate of good news last week, Fisker is back in the negative headlines business. The green automaker is expanding a previous recall. While recalls are a standard part of the industry, a potential battery fire issue in a battery-powered plug-in is an image-damaging affair - especially when you basically forgot a few models the first time around.

The company was quick to provide a retort to early reports that the recall was a new recall, saying in a statement: "Fisker Automotive would like to reassure customers and dealers that it has not issued a new product recall, contrary to erroneous suggestions in an earlier blog-posting carried on WSJ.com today. The minor adjustment to the VIN range is an administrative filing with NHTSA, the federal transport safety agency, to update information relating to an existing voluntary recall of 239 Fisker Karma vehicles from December 2011."


General Electric Opens EV Comparison Center In Minnesota

On: Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 9:26AM | By: Chris Weiss


General Electric Opens EV Comparison Center In Minnesota test 2

While the most visible work in terms of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids comes from automotive manufacturers, there are many other players doing research, development and testing behind the scenes. One player that has stepped into a more visible role is General Electric, which has announced the opening of its Vehicle Innovation Center. The new center at GE's fleet management business headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minnesota allows GE customers to research, test and compare various green vehicles.

The new facility was opened by GE Capital Fleet Services as a means for GE employees and fleet customers to test drive and compare the various alternative-fuel vehicles on the market. The center, which GE calls the first of its kind, has alternative-fuel vehicles from 20 different manufacturers, including staples like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt. It gives businesses, researchers and industry groups a one-stop destination for comparing the broadening number of green vehicles with help and insight from GE’s fleet, transportation, energy and advanced technology experts.


McLaren MP4-12C Spyder To Get Innovative, Three-Piece Hard-Top

On: Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 4:16PM | By: Chris Weiss


McLaren MP4-12C Spyder test 2

The Ferrari 458 Spider may be the "world's first mid-rear Berlinetta equipped with a retractable hard top," but one of its big competitors will have an equally intriguing hard-top when it hits the scene. McLaren has turned to a familiar company in designing an innovative folding hard-top for the MP4-12C Spyder.

According to Autocar, McLaren has teamed with German firm Webasto, the same manufacturer that worked with Ferrari on the 458 hard-top. Like Ferrari, McLaren will offer its mid-level supercar with a folding hard-top. But the design will be a bit different. The MP4-12C system will reportedly use three roof panels, which will retract and stack on top of each other. They'll slide away into a compartment behind the seats.


 

Mercedes G-Wagen Tackles Scary, Metal Hill (Video)

On: Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 2:15PM | By: Chris Weiss


Mercedes G-Wagen Tackles Scary, Metal Hill test 2

If you had to pick a vehicle for climbing boulders, speeding through mud and careening down narrow rock fins, it probably wouldn't cost $100K stock - kind of a crazy amount of money to spend on a car that you're going to abuse the hell out of. And yet, the $107,000 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is one of the toughest-looking hardcore off-roaders on the market today.

To prove that the G-Class is much more than a luxury car in a boxy body, Mercedes recently introduced what it calls the IRON-Schöckl, a sort of terrifying cross between a metal ramp, a roller coaster, a draw bridge and a steep, narrow ridgeline.


Going, Going, Gone: Chrysler Holds Abarth Orders

On: Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 12:09PM | By: Chris Salamone


2012 Fiat Abarth test 2

Since last month, when the Fiat 500 Abarth first arrived in US dealerships, buyers have only continued to line up. And as of yesterday, supply and demand reached some kind of tipping point. The Detroit News reports that Chrysler Group LLC asked dealers to discontinue taking 2012 Fiat Abarth orders.

Walking a quick eBay stroll, 2012 Abarths can still be found at showrooms around the county. But buyers who aren’t nearby currently available 2012 models will have to wait until the 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth surfaces. In other words, customers can no longer place an order for the 2012 Abarth, but are instead required to take small comfort in Chrysler’s 2013 model waitlist and an optimistic delivery this Fall.


Ford Reveals Refreshed 2013 F-150

On: Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 10:06AM | By: Chris Salamone


2013 Ford F-150 test 2

For 2013, Ford has updated the F-150 to resemble the company’s larger, more powerful full-sized truck variant, the Super Duty. While we won’t see any startling changes to next year’s F-150, expect to see new 18 and 20 inch wheel options, an updated front fascia, high-intensity discharge headlamps, and those massively oversized side view mirrors found on the F-150’s big brother.

With an incoming overhaul due for the Dodge Ram and Chevy Silverado, Ford seems to be playing it safe until the dust settles – choosing to let competitors make the first move.


What The F-Type Took So Long?!

On: Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 2:48PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Jaguar F-type test 2

For those that are lucky enough to remember the Hot Rods of the 1960's and '70's, there were some tough choices to make back then if you were in the market for a new sports car. Not only was there an array of phenomenal domestic cars on the market to choose from, there were some fantastic cars coming in from overseas. One of the prettiest out there was the venerable E-Type, which caused many potential owners lots of grief -- Corvette or E-Type? E-Type or Corvette? Although we're quite sure that those that selected the car bearing the crossed flags made the right decision, the E-Type could certainly make any one wonder, "What if ..." every now and then.

Well, a whole new generation of buyers are finally about to experience the agony of that same decision. After what seems to be about a millennium, Jaguar has announced it will bring back a sporty model that will be the unofficial modern-day evolution of the E-Type, known appropriately as the F-Type. Coming in 2013, the F-Type will be one hot ticket based in no small part on the C-X16 concept car Jaguar debuted last year at the Frankfurt Motor Show.


Mercedes SLS AMG Sets World Record For Running Down Golf Ball

On: Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 12:00PM | By: Chris Weiss


Mercedes SLS AMG Sets World Record For Running Down Golf Ball test 2

If you pop open the Guiness Book of World Records and peruse around a while, you'll quickly realize: you can set a world record for just about anything. In the case of Mercedes-Benz, the record is the "longest golf shot caught in a moving car." It may sound trivial, but it's actually a pretty cool feat.

David Coulthard and Jake Shepherd are both professional athletes, but they don't usually get to play on the same team. Coulthard is an F1 driver, and Shepherd is a golfer. But the two recently teamed up for the unlikely world record.


Chevy Recalls 4,300 New Malibus

On: Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 10:17AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Chevy Recalls 4,300 New Malibus test 2

If you happen to have just picked up your new 2013 Malibu, you might want to check just when your car was manufactured. If it was between October 24th of 2011 and March 31st of 2012 you should probably give Chevy a call to have it checked out.

In the General's most recent recall, 4,304 Malibus were called back to the factory due to some software issues with the car's Sensing and Diagnostic Module. The SDM may reset itself which may ultimately result in the roof rail airbag deploying without warning. Another nasty side effect could prevent the air bags from deploying and the seat belt tensioners from retracting  during a crash, which could cause serious injuries.  

GM has said it will begin the free recall this week, and fix the SDM free of charge. Read on for the full report.


Fisker Doing Just Fine Despite Setbacks

On: Mon, Jun 4, 2012 at 4:35PM | By: Chris Weiss


Fisker Doing Just Fine Despite Setbacks test 2

Since arriving in the industry with fanfare back in 2007, Fisker has read like a textbook chapter about how difficult it can be to get a business off the ground. Despite having a beautiful product to sell, virtually nothing has gone smooth for the green start-up. It's been mired in all kinds of delays, has had publicity issues, has seen a leadership shake-up, and has fallen out of favor with government backers. We're sure we missed a few setbacks.

If you've watched any of the Great Fisker Debacle, you might be under the impression that a bankruptcy announcement is imminent. However, Fisker sales numbers actually seem encouraging.

According to the numbers released by Fisker earlier this week, it's delivered a total of 1,000 Karmas to customers in the US and Europe. Given that deliveries began in December of last year, that's not bad at all.